Nationwide Poll: More Americans Than Ever Before Say That Marijuana Should Be Legal
Washington, DC: Seven-in-ten voters believe that "the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States," according to national polling data released last week by Quinnipiac University. That percentage is the highest level of support ever reported in a scientific poll.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents expressed support for legalizing marijuana. That percentage rises to 70 percent when only registered voters are included. That is an increase of 19 percentage points since 2012, when Quinnipiac first began polling on the issue.
"There is no buyer's remorse on the part of the American people. In the era of state-level legalization, voters' support for this issue has grown rapidly -- an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters' desires and expectations," NORML's Executive Director Erik Altieri said. "Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it."
Support for legalization among the public is non-partisan. Strong majorities of Republicans (62 percent), Independents (67 percent), and Democrats (78 percent) back legalization. By contrast, elected officials continue to view the issue through a largely partisan lens, with Democrats primarily supporting the issue and Republicans typically voting against it. Recently enacted measures legalizing the adult-use marijuana markets in New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia were spearheaded by Democrats and were passed with virtually no Republican support.
The Quinnipiac poll also found that Americans of all ages support legalization. Among those ages 65 and older, 51 percent endorse legalization. This percentage of support is significantly higher among younger and middle-age voters, with 78 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 49 backing legalization and 72 percent of those ages 50 to 64 doing so.
Other national polls similarly show majority support among Americans of all ages and political ideologies.
The survey's margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Congress: House Members Once Again Pass SAFE Banking Act
Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday, HR 1996: The SAFE Banking Act, amending federal law so that banks and other financial institutions could partner with state-licensed marijuana businesses. Two hundred and fifteen Democrats, along with 106 Republicans, voted in favor of the measure.
The vote marks the fourth time in two years that the House has advanced the Act. Previously, Senate leadership has either failed to take up the issue or has removed the language from broader legislation.
Following the most recent vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated his position that he'd like the Upper Chamber to consider the language as part of a more comprehensive Senate bill rather than as stand-alone legislation.
"I've always been of the view that while certainly we have to deal with the banking and financial issues that we should do them together with legalization because the [SAFE Banking Act] brings in some people who might not normally support legalization, and we want to get as broad a coalition as possible," Schumer told MarijuanaMoment.net. "Here in the Senate, it's our goal – as you know, Senators Booker and Wyden and I are working on comprehensive legalization legislation."
Under current law, banks and other financial institutions are strongly discouraged from entering relationships with state-licensed marijuana businesses. Nationwide, fewer than 700 banks and/or credit unions are actively servicing marijuana-related businesses, according to data provided by the US Department of Treasury.
In response to the House vote, NORML's Political Director Justin Strekal said: "For the first time since Joe Biden assumed the presidency, a supermajority of the House has voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization. However, the SAFE Banking Act is only a first step at making sure that these state-legal markets operate safely and efficiently. The sad reality is that those who own or patronize the unbanked businesses are themselves criminals in the eyes of the federal government, which can only be addressed by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances."
Pew Poll: Only Eight Percent of US Adults Believe Cannabis Should Be Criminalized
Washington, DC: Over 90 percent of US adults believe that cannabis should be legal for either medical or adult-use purposes, according to national polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center.
Sixty percent of respondents agree that marijuana ought to be legal for adults, while an additional 31 percent of adults believe that it ought to be legal for therapeutic use. Only eight percent of US adults say that marijuana should "not be legal" for either purpose.
Consistent with prior national polls, total support was greater among Democrats (95 percent) than Republicans (87 percent), and stronger among younger voters (ages 18 to 29: 94 percent) than older voters (ages 75 and up: 85 percent).
Polling data compiled by Pew in 2019 reported that 62 percent of adults support full legalization. National survey data published last week by Quinnipiac University reported that 70 percent of registered voters favor legalizing marijuana for adults – the highest level of nationwide support ever recorded in a scientific poll.
Study: Marijuana Use Does Not Adversely Impact Survival Rates in Patients Receiving Liver Transplants
Ann Arbor, MI: A history of cannabis use is not negatively associated with survival rates among patients receiving liver transplants, according to data published in the journal Clinical Transplantation.
A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor reviewed data on post-liver transplantation outcomes in a cohort of 2,690 subjects. They concluded, "Post-LT [liver transplantation] survival was not impacted by self-reported marijuana use history."
Their finding is consistent with several other studies concluding that marijuana use is not contraindicated in patients receiving organ transplants. Nonetheless, in several states – including some states that permit medical cannabis access – those with a history of marijuana use are ineligible to receive organ transplants.
Full text of the study, "Marijuana use among adult liver transplant candidates and recipients," appears in Clinical Transplantation.
Alabama: Birmingham Mayor Announces Pardons to Thousands with Low-Level Marijuana Convictions
Birmingham, AL: The mayor of Birmingham (population: 212,000) announced on Tuesday his intent to have city officials issue automatic pardons to thousands of residents with low-level marijuana convictions.
Under the newly announced policy, those convicted of marijuana possession charges in municipal court will receive blanket pardons. No further actions will need to be taken by those who are eligible for pardons, and no fees are required. It is estimated that some 15,000 Alabamans will receive blanket pardons under the program.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said: "No one should be held up by a single past mistake. No one should be denied job opportunities or freedoms due to missteps from the past. No longer will these residents be bound to their past. They deserve a chance to be part of our work force, to provide for their families and to achieve success on their own. That new life starts rights here, today, with forgiveness and redemption."
The Mayor is also coordinating an online petition drive calling on the Alabama legislature to enact legislation decriminalizing marijuana offenses. Under state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,000 fine.
In recent years, 18 states have enacted legislation facilitating the process of having past marijuana convictions expunged, vacated, or otherwise set aside.
Case Report: Sustained Treatment of Chronic Pruritus Treated with Medical Cannabis
Baltimore, MD: The use of cannabis is associated with marked improvements in a patient with chronic, treatment-resistant pruritus, according to data published in JAMA Dermatology.
A team of investigators with John Hopkins University in Baltimore reported on the use of cannabis by a woman in her 60s with a 10-year history of pruritus. The subject was unresponsive to multiple anti-pruritic therapies, including topical corticosteroids.
Following the use of either botanical cannabis and/or cannabis tinctures, the patient's symptoms improved significantly. The patient experienced sustained improvements associated with cannabis over a 20-month period, with her Dermatology Life Quality Index Score falling from 17 to 1 over that period of time. The subject also reported ceasing her intake of other anti-prurtic medications. Minimal adverse effects were reported.
Researchers reported: "This case report highlights that medical marijuana is a potential treatment for chronic pruritus, which is especially relevant as a growing number of states pass legislation allowing public medical marijuana programs. These findings are promising, but randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm the results."
Other small observational studies have similarly shown that cannabinoids possess anti-pruritic effects, as well as the potential to address acne, epidermolysis bullosa, other serious skin conditions.
Full text of the study, "Treatment of chronic pruritus with medical marijuana," appears in JAMA Dermatology.